Go Deeper in Stretching My Faith
For me, when I think about being stretched, it often sounds quite uncomfortable. I have images of people grabbing hold of each of my limbs and walking in different directions in a bid to make me longer. In my head I think of the character Mike TV from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory who was stretched out following his mishap in the factory. However, stretching doesn't have to give us these sorts of images.
I imagine if I was to ask each of you to think of something stretchy, the top answer would undoubtedly be a rubber band. The rubber band is a pretty cool thing and does quite a lot of stretching! When stretched it will get longer and longer, if you continue to stretch it, it may snap, or if you release it, it may ping back into its original state. However if you do not stretch an elastic band and leave it the way it is, then it will be totally useless. An elastic band is only useful when it is being stretched.
Another thing that can be stretched is an article of clothing. Clothes can quite easily become stretched, however, unlike the elastic band, clothes do not return to their original shape and form. The item of clothing takes on a new shape and new look. It is changed forever and no matter how much 'unstretching' we do of them; we can never return them to how they used to be.
Stretching can be very beneficial to us. If you speak to any sports coach they will tell you that stretching is an absolute necessity before and after any sort of physical exertion. Stretching our muscles prepares them for what we are about to do to them, as well as helps prevent injury. When I stretch to a certain level I get a feeling which is a cross between pain and pleasure. I feel a slight discomfort in my muscles, but at the same time, it feels good for me and my body knows it is doing something right.
I wonder what we think of when we consider 'stretching our faith’.
Let's take the elastic band - it is only being put to use when it is being stretched. We can often feel quite comfortable and happy with where our faith is. We do the same things time and time again, and our routine is such that we never really get stretched. It is easy for us to become like an unstretched elastic band. For our faith to grow, we need to stretch it. Our faith is only being usefully employed when we do.
When we stretch our faith, we should be like the clothes and remain changed. Something about the stretching should alter who we are forever and prevent us from going back to what we used to be. It says in the Bible that 'the old has passed and the new has come.' When our faith is stretched, it changes in a way that we can never reverse.
Stretching can appear to be uncomfortable. If we remind ourselves of the sports stretches I mentioned, when you stretch, even just a little bit, you can feel the uncomfortable strain. In our faith lives, we can be uncomfortable at times but we mustn't give up. The more we stretch, the easier it will become. We know that stretching is good for us physically, but have we experienced stretching our faith? If not, I suggest we begin stretching it right now!